Introductory note: I recently wrote to Dave Emory, Northern California radio conspiracy researcher and mud-slinger -- his latest victim is Glenn Greenwald, the topic of an 11-part series making the case that the famed journalist is actually a closet "Nazi" and agent of the "underground Reich" -- to congratulate him for his inclusion in the Encyclopedia of American Loons. It is a distinction that Emory richly deserves.
He has attacked me viciously in the past on his program with allegations that he makes no attempt to support, and when the actual facts are pointed out to him, he quietly refuses to retract. He has gone so far as to claim that an anti-Nazi poster, distributed by the OSS during WW II, hanging at the entrance to my publisher's office is actually a "Nazi poster." The attacks are, without exception, personal and severely skewed, primarily drawn from flames posted on the Internet by marginal characters engaged in smear tactics. He also peruses my own posts for words that he can twist beyond recognition to defame and discredit.
One evening, he spent three hours on the air defaming me. When I was told about it, I shrugged it off because I understand why he does it. He has a long history of attacking anyone who he believes is stealing limelight that is rightfully his. In the case of Greenwald, Dave claimed that because. as a criminal attorney, he once represented domestic neo-Nazi Mathew Hale on free speech grounds, he must be a neo-Nazi himself. It doesn't occur to Emory that lawyers always represent miscreants. This isn't a valid "connection." Dave claims that Greenwald's reporting on the NSA is a conspiracy intended to discredit "liberal" Barack Obama. (But Obama is not exactly a liberal in the traditional sense. He has supported illegal NSA surveillance, as he has CIA assassinations and torture. Obama is a neo-Con, to judge by his record.) But Dave pounded away at Greenwald for eleven weeks straight, pausing now and then to drop a homophobic smear or two. Dave also has contempt for Edward Snowden ("Fast Eddie") because the NSA whistleblower has a libertarian past. Dave's accusations are strained and unconvincing. Greenwald is not a "Nazi" merely because he legally represented one in court in defense of the First Amendment. Snowden has done all of us a great service, and any libertarian views that he may harbor have only fed his resolve to expose NSA spying. Emory's criticism of Julian Assange was equally specious, concerned largely with his white hair, leading Dave to conclude that the founder of WikiLeaks is still connected to the religious cult in which he was raised and escaped (also somehow the spooky little tow-heads in the movie "Village of the Damned"). which "appears" to have undefined "links" to Australian intelligence, and so on.
Late anti-fascist researcher Mae Brussell, on her deathbed, advised Dave to "get help." My advice to him is the same. The investigation of Mr. Emory that follows was written over 20 years ago, is fully documented by written statements and tape recordings -- unlike the many lies that he has publicly spewed about myself and numerous other reporters on his radio program -- a detailed portrait of a true American loon:
More serious are the allegations of C. (name withheld upon request, co-host of a political affairs radio program in the Santa Clara area), that Emory, in a drunken, late-night telephone call, filled her ears with graphic descriptions of sexual violence because she refused to kick me off the air.
She had been for several years Emory's friend and an outspoken supporter. They were both students and allies of late political researcher Mae Brussell. C. was severely rattled by Emory's threats of sexual mutilation. Emory, in response to a direct confrontation with her, did not deny that he phoned her, but did claim he had no recollection of the episode. If so, perhaps he also has no recollection that he later phoned one of C.'s radio station co-workers to ask if she had repeated anything Emory told her. The co-worker slammed down the phone.
I informed Tuckman of the incident in a letter on June 6, 1991, and suggested that he call C. for confirmation. Tuckman ignored the letter.
Martin Cannon, author of The Controllers, a study of the classified federal mind control initiative, also informed Tuckman of the harassing phone call. He told Tuckman that Emory had said "monstrous and violent things" to "C." Cannon's letter was also ignored.
In response to the abusive phone call, Barbara Honneger, a political investigator living in Monterey, stated in a letter to Emory:
Dave Emory's mentor, Mae Brussell, was a courageous investigator of political assassinations, a tenacious critic of government. She inspired a modest but devoted audience to probe the American extreme-right and its pernicious influences. Among the researchers who have worked with Brussell and posthumously expanded upon her foundation of political research were Honegger, John Judge, Emory's former co-host Nip Tuck, and Will Robinson & Marilyn Colman, hosts of KAZU's Lighthouse Report. All were once staples of Tuckman's program. Dave drove them all off the air with malicious lies.
Emory's past is seldom discussed. His father, writes Paul Bernardino, host of a cable television program in San Francisco, committed him to an institution and narcotics program 20 years ago. Emory has told several people, including Tom Davis (a northern California book retailer) that he was sexually abused in a prison in Boston. He has attempted suicide several times via cars and narcotics. His emotional problems drove him to overdose on narcotics in a 1988 suicide attempt.
This was the year that Mae Brussell fell prey to cancer. Emory, her self-appointed successor, began a series of vindictive slander campaigns to purge other researchers from the air.
His first straw man was Nip Tuck (an alias, today a popular science-fiction writer), Emory's own co-host on "Radio Free America" for several years. Tuck was publicly denounced as an agent of an unnamed arm of government. This smear was based on the slimmest of ties: Tuck once taught English at a military base. This alone rendered him suspect in Emory's mind, yet he later acknowledged to a Christic Institute activist that he'd known of Tuck's background all along. That Tuck was a lackey of the intelligence sector was repeated on KPFK, unsubstantiated but delivered as bald fact.
The victim of this smear vigorously denied the allegation in a letter to KPFK. The station ignored it.
Tuck found himself groundlessly discredited, humiliated, his written denial censored -- despite the fact that over the years his weekly reports had grossed tens of thousands of dollars for publicly-supported KPFK.
Emory's next victim was John Judge, a popular protege of Mae Brussell. Abuse heaped upon Judge, says Bernardino, was the result of "personal jealousy," an opinion that I share. So does Jonathon Vankin, a former staff reporter for the San Jose Metro, in Conspiracies, Cover-Ups and Crimes.
Judge had managed to get himself some lecture bookings and onto radio talk shows. According to the late Tom Davis, a long-time friend of Brussell's whose mail-order book service is one of the best sources for political books, Judge and Emory had been competing for radio kudos since at least 1984.
Moreover, Brussell appointed Judge, not Emory, to the position of curator/archivist. Excluded from plans for the library bequeathed to Judge, Emory lashed out.
Personal and professional envy was the foundation of his belief that Judge was an "intelligence agent" and a "Nazi murderer" with undefined "ties" to the Manson Family -- a gross lie -- and someone with "more connections than a switchboard".
The charges have never been retracted.
Emory opened his fusillade at Judge in a November, 1989 blast on KFJC. He announced with an imperious air, "There's a bit of unpleasantness I'm going to have to take care of...."
The Mae Brussell archives were being catalogued and organized. It was not ready to open to the public. Emory set out to destroy it and its curator, John Judge, before the doors could open.
"One of the things I wondered about," Emory declared, "in the creation of the Mae Brussell Research Center, was how long it would take the intelligence community to gain effective control of that center." In fact, the directing board was composed of friends and associates of Mae Brussell. Nevertheless, he arrived at the conclusion that it had been overrun by the CIA: "There is an intelligence presence at the Center now that is so massive as to render the whole thing little more than an intelligence front." He produced no evidence to support this startling allegation. He remained vague. "There is a very sinister presence," he charged, "there are elements affiliated with Aryan Nations." The "sinister elements" were phantoms: Emory had learned that Judge once delivered a talk at a Santa Monica debating club owned by a right-wing extremist with Birch Society ties, a connection too weak to support such serious allegations. Hammering together a guillotine with a post of smears and planks of innuendo, Emory claimed that there were "indications of serious financial impropriety" at the center. What's more, "there are indications that have yet to be finalized that the whole thing has disintegrated into nothing more than a great big criminal enterprise." A devastating revelation—and no "finalized indications" to back it up.
In fact, the financial impropriety he spoke of largely amounted to nothing more than Judge spending money he'd raised himself for the Mae Brussell Research Center. He spent some of the proceeds from his own fund-raising tour on meals, though there is some truth to the charge that a portion of the funds were misspent. According to Robinson, a director of the Center, Judge did nothing criminal. Yet Emory carried on as though he had information too explosive to air publicly—"investigative tributaries," he said—and had no qualms about divulging the results of his "investigation."
Emory's carving knife sank into the Center's finances.
A week later, the charges were repeated in a telephone conversation with Tuckman in North Hollywood. This time, Emory claimed that John Judge was a "murderer." As always, he didn't trifle with evidence, simply swore that there were more "investigative leads" that bookish, soft-spoken John Judge had "committed murder."
Unfortunately, to this day, only Emory knows anything about it.
The allegations grew more and more fantastic. On Tuckman's May 10, 1990 program, he charged that Judge and the Mae Brussell Center were an extension of the ultra-right Western Goals operation--an industrially-sponsored covert surveillance group--as well as the Ford Foundation. A week earlier, the Center had been allied with Aryan Nations. Now it was Western Goals and the Ford Foundation.
"Beyond that," he told Tuckman, "there are two 'evidentiary tributarie's leading in the direction of the Manson Family."
Now it was Manson. But what were the "tributaries" that so alarmed Emory he was moved to denounce Judge and the Brussell archives? The "evidentiary" links, he said, forced him to ask "very, very serious questions about the Center." He let on, as though divulging a dark secret, that Judge had ties to "several murders in the Carmel area." He has never stooped to explain his meaning. "I'm not accusing any individual," Emory said, incredibly, "but there are serious questions implicating individuals—including and especially John Judge."
He again suggested that supporters of the Mae Brussell library sever all contact and demand a refund. Listeners, believing that Emory's vagaries must have some foundation, withdrew support for the center. It collapsed. Judge sent a strong letter of denial to Tuckman. Like the others, it was ignored.
Judge, once a favorite of the program, was publicly humiliated and drummed off the air.
In 1992 Judge denied, in a Santa Cruz newspaper, that there was any substance to the charges. He said that he'd been hounded out of the Mae Brussell Research Center by "this kind of nonsense." In the same story, Dave Ratcliffe, a Center director, laughed at the notion that it had any connection to the government, extremist groups or satanic cults. He chalked up the allegations to
Emory's attacks on Paul Bernardino, a political researcher and AIDS activist in San Francisco, culminated shortly after the fall of John Judge. In January, 1989, Bernardino received a call at 2:00 a.m. from an enraged Dave Emory. "I hope all you faggots drop dead with AIDS," he snapped.
Like Upton Sinclair with a reeking slaughterhouse in his sights, Emory went on to blast Sara Diamond, formerly of KPFA-FM in Berkeley and an Emory critic, for carrying on a hidden life as "a CIA and Mossad agent" and "a whore who gives cheap blow jobs to Nazis."
On the air, Emory accused Bernardino of taping an unauthorized tribute to Mae Brussell for his television program. Emory, Bernardino wrote in a public denial,
As it happened, permission for the taping was granted by Brussell's daughter. Bernardino protested Emory's
Once informed that he'd erred, Emory refused to retract or apologize. He never does. Instead, he claimed that Bernardino was fronting for "the Gay Mafia." He referred to Bernardino as "a homo from Mexico" and "a CIA agent." He further charged that Bernardino had far-right political connections.
"Such dangerous, mud-slinging lies," Bernardino lamented. He voiced an opinion that radio personalities have an obligation to "keep their personal vendettas, mud-slinging, unfounded hate, spite and personal attacks off the air."
Emory also has revealed a grandiose vision of himself as the keeper of the truth who has somehow been denied his true place in the world. He has spouted off numerous times off air about how he has to "work the graveyard shift" because he hasn't "kissed Hymie's ass".
Pat Carey, a volunteer working for Bernardino, supported him in a letter to KFJC dated May 22, 1991. Emory, she wrote,
Despite these protests, Emory continued to tell stretchers on the air about well-intentioned programmers.
Pam Burton, a KPFK programmer substituting for Roy Tuckman one week, refused to play Emory's "Radio Free America" tape -- she thought it laden with self-importance.
"I see radios going off all over town," she grumbled off the air. Emory learned that he'd been pulled and branded her "a CIA agent." (Critics must be federal intelligence agents out to destroy him.)
His denunciation of any detractor as an "agent" was taken up by Martin Cannon in his May, 1991 letter to Emory:
But Emory's most venomous campaigns were reserved for Barbara Honegger, author of The October Surprise (a detailed reconstruction of the Reagan/Bush hostage debacle) and a close friend of Mae Brussell's. When Mae died of cancer, Emory accused Honegger of "murdering" her as well as being "a Nazi whore". He has never offered any public explanation for his widely-spread belief that Honegger killed Mae Brussell.
In her June 10, 1991 response, Honegger wrote:
With "Nazi murderer" John Judge bounced off the air, Emory turned a jaundiced eye to Honegger. Her reputation was golden in leftist political research circles. At first, her book was ridiculed by left and right alike as a dubious theory. But official leaks concerning the hostage deal caught the attention of the press. Honegger's primary source of information, Richard Brenneke, a former CIA pilot, was acquitted in a trial arranged by the Bush administration to discredit his account of the flight to Paris. All of this lent credence to Honegger's investigation, and she became a familiar voice on the radio talk show circuit. In L.A., she was a welcome guest at KFI-AM and Pacifica.
It was on Tuckman's program that Emory proceeded to carve into her. Drawing upon articles written by Harry Martin of the Napa Valley Sentinel, Emory contended that self-proclaimed CIA pilot Gunther Russbacher actually flew George Bush to the October Surprise negotiations with Iranian officials. Since, Emory and Martin have reached the conclusion that Russbacher was not the pilot after all, precisely as Honegger insisted in the first gusts of Emory's defamation storm but only after branding her a "liar" for doubting the allegations.
Harry Martin has since become a key source of information, providing Emory with material for his radio program, as Brussell once did. (Another of Emory's key sources is discredited JFK assassination chronicler Gerald Posner's key researcher, Lois Battuello.)
Harry Martin is a former Republican activist. The corporate press ignored his series on Gunther Russbacher, but it has been featured in the Liberty Lobby's Spotlight. The Village Voice couldn't reconcile the many glaring contradictions in Russbacher's story. John Whalen, a journalist Emory respects, wrote in the San Jose Mercury-News on July 11, 1990:
"Depending on whom he is talking to, Russbacher has claimed to have flown Ronald Reagan, George Bush, William Casey or just himself to or from the Paris meetings, frequently changing his tale when confronted with contradictions. When a reporter at a major daily reminded Russbacher that SR-71 pilots and passengers require hours of pre-flight medical preparation and special flight suits making it unlikely that Bush would go to the trouble when a conventional jet would get him from Paris to America without all the fuss Russbacher abruptly revised his plot line, claiming that, actually, he hadn't flown Bush home."
Emory had linked Tuck, Judge, Bernardino, Diamond, Burton. myself and now Honegger to covert branches of government. The allegations have tarnished their reputations in southern California. Yet Harry Martin, one of Emory's primary sources, is the former publisher of Defense Systems Review, a DoD mouthpiece staffed by past CIA Director Eugene Tighe, former CIA Deputy Director Bobby Ray Inman, and Paul Cutter, alleged by the FBI to have sold arms to Iran on behalf of the Reagan NSC.
Emory publicly excoriates Honegger for boarding Reagan's 1980 election campaign and briefly serving in his administration, denounces her as an agent and ignores Martin's known links to the loftiest levels of CIA covert operations without a flinch.
In July, 1988, months before Emory's tirades began, Mae Brussell received this letter from a Napa Valley resident concerning Harry Martin:
I understand you're quite knowledgable on the CIA's activities. We have a person Harry Martin in my hometown, Napa, who has been publishing a small weekly newspaper, The Napa Sentinel, for the past 2 1/2 years, a newspaper that purports to be a champion for the little people, but actually has covert ties to Napa's development interests. What really bothers me, however, is Martin's past ownership of Defense Systems Review and Military Communications, an international publication that went to congress, the president, the U.S. military, the defense industry and foreign governments. It's quality was the equal of Newsweek, and it had ads from major defense companies. Although listing Napa as its publishing address, I doubt, considering its sophisticated layout, that it could have been printed in Napa (it was mailed from Los Angeles). The magazine, besides promoting weapons, supported Reagan's Central American policy. By his own admission, Martin had contacts with the intelligence agencies of Western Europe and Israel.... Some of the deceptive practices he is using in his newspaper have aroused my suspicions he might be involved with the CIA.
There is a further possible link, a Sentinel columnist named Mike Savage. Savage was a talk show host (a program ironically called "Doubletalk") on our local radio station, KVON, for several years until he resigned in 1987 (supposedly after the acceptance of a book he was writing [for] Doubleday), and became a columnist for the Sentinel. Savage ran for the Napa City Council in 1986, listing a BA in political science and an MA in psychology from the University of Denver in his campaign ads. Savage was not elected, but ran again in 1988. However, this time a reporter for Napa's daily newspaper, The Napa Register, did some checking and revealed that Savage had no degrees from the University of Denver. Savage said it was all a misunderstanding. I've been told by an avid radio listener that while a talk show host, Savage had more than one CIA agent as guests. He even arranged for an agent to talk to a local group. On the radio, whenever he could, Savage ridiculed citizens who protested against Reagan's Central American policy. In recent years, Savage has traveled to South Africa, South America and Europe....
Savage explained that his globe-trotting was financed by Doubleday in lieu of a book contract. Another local reporter checked on the story. Doubleday denied that Savage had been signed. Yet Martin's Sentinel sided with Savage, claiming the book contract was with another publisher, one he neglected to name, though he had flatly stated so a year before.
Author Jonathon Whalen concluded that Martin's work on the October Surprise required "generous leaps of faith," and was riddled with "egregious factual errors, unsupported claims and misleading attributions." Martin has himself since admitted that Gunther Russbacher's claims are "unsubstantiated."
Russbacher, who hails from a Nazi gene pool, was hardly a reliable source. He was, at the time, serving a 21-month sentence for impersonating a U.S. attorney. During the trial, FBI agent Richard Robely of St. Louis testified that Russbacher was an FBI informant. Under cross-examination, Robely admitted that the self-proclaimed CIA pilot was an "infiltrator for an unnamed interagency group. Rae Russbacher, his wife, is the daughter of a Naval intelligence and FBI undercover agent. Her first husband was dean of science and engineering at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey.
Harryb Martin's version of the October Surprise was embraced almost exclusively by Dave Emory and the Holocaust-denying Liberty Lobby, a spin-off of the World Anti-Communist League.
Most researchers, including Honegger and the press at large, have poked numerous holes in his story. Yet Honegger's attempts to demonstrate that Russbacher was a liar were interpreted by Emory as an attack on his own credibility.
On June 6, 1991, on Tuckman's program, Emory repeated the accusation made only by the Russbachers that Honegger was an FBI informant and also had "ties to the ADL". No charge could be more damaging to her career. On June 10, Honegger wrote a letter of denial to Emory:
Emory ignored her denial, and gullible listeners of KPFK still believe Russbacher's fabricated charge -- joyously echoed by Tuckman and Emory -- that Honegger was a snitch for the FBI.
The irony, of course, is that Russbacher was informing and infiltrating for the Bureau.
"Gunther maintains that he was the October Surprise pilot," Emory told Tuckman in the June 6, 1991 interview. "That is to say, he flew Bush to Paris and flew him back. Gunther's background checks out." In fact, Gunther Russbacher did NOT check out.
Emory's animosity toward Honegger blinded him. He was willing to cling to anybody in his dismantling of Honegger's reputation. Emory went on to concede that there were glaring contradictions between Harry Martin's interviews and a prior taped discussion between Russbacher and Honegger. He explained these away, noting that Honegger's interview of Russbacher was conducted at 2:30 in the morning.
Tuckman put Honegger's conversation with a besotted Gunther over the air (an FCC violation). Drunkenness is a lame excuse for giving two diametrically-opposed accounts to reporters about a historical episode as significant as the October Surprise.
Honegger challenged Russbacher's account on KAZU-FM in Monterey. Emory and Tuckman interpreted her reservations concerning Russbacher as direct assaults on their own credibility. Emory spoke of Honegger's "vendetta" against him, a peculiar form of blindness to his own smears.
"There are a number of baldface lies that Barbara Honegger told," Emory announced on July 11, 1991 on KPFK. After accusing her of mere thievery and "murder," he maintained she'd insulted him during the Monterey broadcast with "a fire-storm of invective, innuendo and outright lies." In fact, Honegger had said little about Emory. She had simply identified holes in Russbacher's story, explained why he could not possibly have flown Bush to Paris.
Tuckman mentioned that Honegger threatened to sue him. "Yeah, well, she threatened to sue me too," Emory said. "I basically told her to piss up a rope, and she hasn't done a thing about it."
Having declared falsely that "Russbacher's credentials check out," on this evening Emory offered his expert opinion that "Gunther's situation may be b.s. On the other hand, maybe not."
But Honegger, he charged, had "muddied the waters with her personal bitterness."
The grim irony of all this was not lost on me. At this time, I had my own political program, The Constantine Report, which aired on KAZU in Monterey (and, briefly, two years before on KPFK in L.A.). I had collected taped broadcasts by both Honegger and Emory, and concluded that Emory was attempting to bump her off the airwaves as he had others by undermining her credibility with bizarre accusations.
I began writing a series of letters to Tuckman, calling attention to the lameness of the charges against Honegger. I pointed out obvious errors in Emory's accusations, asked him if he really believed Judge and Honegger were guilty of "murder."
For my trouble, Tuckman sent the letters to Emory, who accused me of being a "CIA agent."
The charge was made in a private phone call to Will Robinson, host of The Lighthouse Report, Monterey's answer to Tuckman's program.
"This Constantine guy is no fucking good," Emory spat in a taped fit of professional jealousy. "You're going to have to learn friend from foe. The problem is you don't listen to advice. You can just take a humble attitude, listen to what I say and follow orders." Emory gave Robinson an ultimatum: either strike The Constantine Report from the playlist, or Emory would not permit his own tapes to be played on KAZU. Robinson chose to keep my program. Emory was no longer on the KAZU roster. In his taped conversation with Robinson, Emory took credit for purging me from Tuckman's program in L.A.: "I put the kibosh on Constantine," he crowed.
A crowning irony of his attacks on myself is that he considers one of his "most important works" to be a reading of William Pepper's book on the Martin Luther King assassination -- a point-of-view I covered comprehensively two years earlier, when James Earl Ray filed for a retrial, drawing upon developments from news sources in Mississippi and the UK. The stories aired over KAZU for several weeks. In other words, I've already done Emory's "most important" research.
Emory was profiled in Jonathan Vankin's Conspiracies, Cover-Ups and Crimes, described by Robert Anton Wilson as "the most exciting book on conspiracy theory I've read in this decade." The San Francisco Chronicle called it "a lively and provocative book." In it, Vankin relives Emory's rebuttal to the unflattering coverage. Emory's obsession with the book, and with me personally it would seem, culminated (although not concluded) with two consecutive five-and-a-half hour broadcasts, eleven solid hours of otherwise valuable airtime—devoted to lambasting me. Feigning the high road, Emory pretended that my alleged "hit piece" didn't bother him. "He did feel moved, however, to describe me as a "front-running yuppie pantywaist," whatever that means.
Emory accused Vankin of plotting with the Moonies to ruin him. Vankin described the eleven-hour tirade as "a personal vendetta for an imagined slight," and related how Emory lumped him in with "Moonies, right-wing tax protesters, the anti-Semitic "Identity Christianity" movement, John Judge, and most amusingly, the alternative newsweekly where I work, Metro (a "masturbation vehicle for yuppies"). Emory, who is prone to thinking himself a bit of a martyr, said the likely result of Vankin's book was "a possibility of physical violence and mind control."
He also diagnosed Tom Davis, the book merchant, as senile without the benefit of a physician's consultation. This was the week that 65-year-old Davis, then keeper of the voluminous Brussell archives, conferred all 33 filing cabinets and a mountain of political books and tapes on researcher Virginia McCullough.
Emory had already announced on the air that he was working on procuring the files from Davis. Losing them to McCullough, another researcher with whom he'd had a falling out, must have been a bitter loss.